Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley criticised referee Paul McLaughlin for not taking his time before awarding a penalty for Bohemians in their 1-0 derby win at Tallaght Stadium on Monday night.
The hosts were already down to 10 men following Trevor Clarke's professional foul on Danny Grant when, in the 37th minute, Lee Grace appeared to block a Keith Buckley shot with his outstretched arms.
Ref McLaughlin showed Grace a second yellow card and awarded a penalty, which Dinny Corcoran eventually put in the net after having his shot saved.
However, slow-motion replays subsequently showed Grace had stopped the shot with head rather than hand.
"Is Trevor's one a sending-off? Maybe it is," Bradley told RTÉ Sport. "But Lee is adamant that it has hit his face. And the referee is so quick to give the decision it's frightening.
"If you're going to give a decision like that in a big game, you have to be 100% sure.
"You can't just blow your whistle and point to the spot. Speak to your fourth official, speak to your linesmen and come to a decision.
"He couldn't wait to give the penalty. I thought it was a shocking decision and ultimately that's what cost us the game."
Bradley was encouraged by his team's performance up to the point but accepted it was an uphill task after going down to nine men so early.
"We hit the crossbar early on. He (James Talbot) made a great save from Aaron McEneff.
"I thought we were really good but the sending off killed the game and then the second one, 11 v 9 for 70-odd minutes...
"But I'm proud of the players, how they fought for each other and the club.
"If we keep doing that we'll be right up there come the end of the year."
For Keith Long and now second-placed Bohemians, a remarkable run continues.
They have not lost to Rovers since May 2017, winning six of the seven league ties
"There's no secret," he told RTÉ Sport of the winning run.
"We've got a good group of boys that have pride in the jersey. It's difficult to put your finger on it but the togetherness we have in the dressing-room...
"It's fantastic to come here to win. They enjoy it here, it's a great stadium and great pitch. A big crowd getting right behind the teams."
Long added that the refereeing decisions "went against us last week and went for us this week" as he eyed the upcoming trip to Waterford as a chance to further reduce the deficit to leaders Rovers.
"We've had a great start to the season," he said.
"Our motivation was to come and try and bridge the gap between ourselves and Shamrock Rovers.
"We were able to do that tonight. We've got a game in hand and as well as we did tonight, the real test will be the game on Friday against Waterford that we can back it up and get another good performance."